In November 2003, Jeff Grossman received a telephone call from Francis DeRuschi, the General Manager of Algar Ferrari. DeRuschi invited Grossman to visit the dealership, near Philadelphia, because he had something very interesting on hand. In short order, Grossman, with son in tow, arrived—and feasted his eyes upon his first Enzo.
“It was sitting in the wash bay, and I just fell for it,” Grossman recalls. “It was the most beautiful work of art I had ever seen in my life!”
At the time, buying an Enzo of his own was just a dream. But if the dream ever came true, Grossman decided, he wanted to buy this exact car.
Jump ahead to November 2005: same dealership, same Enzo. This time the Ferrari sat on the showroom floor, looking for a new owner. DeRuschi encouraged Grossman to fulfill his dream, but Grossman had other priorities and knew he would, once again, have to wait.
In July 2008, like a siren’s song, the Enzo again popped up on Grossman’s radar. This time it was advertised for sale in Florida, but, before he could decide on a course of action, the Ferrari vanished.
Four years later, in November 2012, the time had come. Grossman was ready to buy an Enzo—the Enzo. He knew I knew who owned the Ferrari, so asked me for an introduction. As a friend to both parties, I played matchmaker and backed out of the picture.
A few months later, the Enzo’s owner invited Grossman and family to his home to reconnect with the car. That was all it took: A purchase price was soon agreed upon, and by August 2013 the deal was done. It had taken a decade, but Grossman finally owned the Ferrari of his dreams.
Well, not quite.
WHILE GROSSMAN HAD INDEED PURCHASED the very first Enzo (s/n 134297) he’d ever seen, after some 16,000 miles it was no longer the same car. The Ferrari was still straight and clean and had passed its PPI with flying colors, but Grossman’s full dream was to own the car as it had been in 2003—in other words, brand-spanking-new. The next step, then, was to disassemble and completely restore the ten-year-old Ferrari. Luckily, he knew just the guys to do it.
Grossman was a longtime client of both Algar, which would handle the mechanical work, and of nearby Karosserie, one of the few factory-authorized restoration shops in the world. Between these two facilities he had a ready-made dream team, led by Algar service manager Michael Bloch and Karosserie owner Steve McElroy.
Despite Bloch and McElroy’s decades of experience, this wasn’t going to be an easy project. For one thing, the Enzo, while relatively new, was built in very small numbers (just 400 were produced), which meant that finding parts would be a serious challenge.
Second, Grossman insisted on perfection in every aspect of the restoration, even areas that couldn’t be seen, which meant that every single component on the car would be subjected to intense scrutiny. It was a dual-edged sword: The pressure to deliver would be enormous, but the customer would truly appreciate the care lavished on his car and the level of skill involved—something that can’t be understated in a project of this magnitude.
Happily, everyone was in complete agreement with the plan, and both companies had the craftsmen on hand to return the Enzo to factory-fresh condition. Like captains before a big game, Bloch and McElroy would discuss their plans with Grossman and, as a team, often multiple times each week, they would chart the course of the restoration.
ON AUGUST 21, 2013, the newly purchased Enzo arrived at Algar. About two weeks later, after an initial plan of action had been decided and the first batch of new parts ordered, the car was trucked the six-or-so miles to Karosserie, where the restoration began.
The first step was to remove the carbon-fiber body panels from the carbon-fiber chassis. This delicate task was entrusted to Rimvydas “Rimus” Galkauskas, who slowly and methodically removed each panel. Next, the windshield, Lexan engine cover, door windows, exterior emblems, interior door panels and so on were detached, disengaged and dismantled. Every nut, washer and bolt was bagged and labeled, and each of these items was placed precisely, almost lovingly, on a shelf.
The dismantling processes took three days, after which the body-less Enzo was sent back to Algar for mechanical work. Now it was time for the crew at Karosserie to return the car’s exterior to as-new condition.
Painter Claudio Campo and body man Tony Romano, who each have more than 30 years of experience in their respective fields, were tasked with the exterior carbon fiber. Remember that mission of perfection? Campo certainly did; he spent 60 days painstakingly hand-sanding the original paint off the body panels.
Once he deemed everything properly prepared, it was time for paint. After four coats of Rosso Corsa and three coats of clear, the bodywork looked stunning. Then all of the car’s screens, lower panels and ducts had to be repainted in flat black. The devil was clearly in the details; during a visit to the shop, I watched as Campo deftly applied a coat of black along the outside edges of each panel—on top of the fresh red paint he’d so carefully sprayed. This is the way the factory painted these cars back in 2003.
On another visit, I met master detailer Tarnie “T” Hunt, who received the body panels after they left the paint booth. Hunt lined up one panel next to another, just as they would be installed on the chassis, then verified that the finish on each was identical. Next, he color-sanded the panels by hand, then washed and polished them until he had achieved a perfect, wet-gloss finish.
With the paint finished, it was time for 60 hours of detailing. Hunt hand-waxed and polished the entire car, and I mean entire: the naked carbon-fiber chassis and interior panels, the painted body panels, even the carbon-fiber belly pan and its bolts. As you can imagine, the result is simply spectacular.
The same level of care was lavished on the Enzo’s wheels. After two full weeks of prep (which of course included lots of hand-sanding) by Dan Strohmeier, Mike Bergin and Vincent Torres, Strohmeier took the wheels into the paint booth and expertly sprayed them with three coats of factory-spec silver paint and two coats of clear.
McElroy was left to puzzle over how to strip then re-create the iconic red crackle-finish on the engine’s valve covers. The finished covers look amazing, but McElroy isn’t revealing how he did it.
MEANWHILE, OVER AT ALGAR, the Enzo’s engine had been pulled from the chassis for inspection. The engine ran well—shop foreman and master technician Tony “Tony D” deRemigio reports that the Enzo’s V12 gets better with miles—and was in fantastic condition inside, so it was simply serviced. The engine received new valve chain guides, clutch, and oil and water pumps, while the hydraulic pump that powers the F1 shifting system was replaced.
While working his way through the rest of the Enzo’s mechanicals, deRemigio discovered that the front suspension lifter, which manually raises the car’s front end for additional ground clearance at low speeds and automatically lowers it at high speeds, was non-operational. Rather than simply swap out the part, however, he had to figure out the reason it failed—which turned out to be a fault in the ECU that controls the motor.
Both units had to be replaced, but finding a replacement Enzo front suspension lifter motor ECU is more difficult than finding that needle in the haystack. Luckily, Algar’s parts team—Livio Ramani, Kevin O’Donnell and Nick Graham—had the experience and worldwide contacts to find a new unit in a Maserati dealership in Modena, a few miles down the road from the Ferrari factory. (The same ECU was used in the Enzo-based Maserati MC12.)
The Algar crew also attended to the car’s cosmetics. Exterior engine parts that showed signs of wear were swapped for new ones, and a new stock silencer and exhaust tips were fitted. Inside, the dash’s control buttons, air ducts and HVAC control panel, along with the seat handles, were sent to Sticky No More for an impeccable new finish. The seating surfaces showed a bit of wear, so the leather was renewed to pristine condition by a local craftsman using a special leather treatment and a lot of elbow grease. New three-point seat belts were installed and the airbags were replaced for safety reasons (the factory recommends doing this every ten years), but, as an added bonus, they came with new black leather surfaces. Elsewhere, even the seat rails and the clips that cradle the rear engine cover’s support pole were swapped for new items.
All these changes were easy compared to what the team faced with the steering wheel. Replacement Enzo steering wheels simply do not exist, but Bloch located the company, Key Safety Systems of Sterling Heights, Michigan, that made the wheels for Ferrari in the first place—and, miracle of miracles, it offered to bring the wheel back to perfect condition. The decision to send the Enzo’s steering wheel to Key’s factory in Tregnago, Italy (where it was originally made) was still a difficult one—what would happen if it got lost? There was serious tension in the air when the package was held in Italian customs for ten days, but in the end it arrived safely at the manufacturer. Two weeks after that, the wheel, now fitted with new leather, LEDs, electronics and buttons, was back at Algar.
When the chassis and mechanical work was complete, the Enzo was sent back to Karosserie for final assembly. In went a new windshield and engine cover, headlights, emblems, fender shields and front splitter. The body panels were re-fitted and meticulously aligned. The refinished wheels, wrapped in brand-new model-specific Bridgestone Potenza Scuderia tires, were bolted in place. On March 24, 2014, the brand-new, decade-old Enzo was done.
“Algar fine-tuned the mechanicals in April, so all together the project took seven months,” says Grossman. “That was quite incredible, given the magnitude of the restoration and the car’s spectacular finish.”
At long last, after more than ten years, Grossman had the car of his dreams. Now, finally, it was time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of his, Algar and Karosserie’s labors.
Well, not quite.
THERE WAS ONE MORE HURDLE LEFT: Grossman’s dream was to have a brand-new, award-winning Enzo. He had originally hoped to show the Ferrari at the Cavallino Classic in January 2014, but the restoration schedule didn’t allow for that.
The car’s first show was therefore the 30th annual Reading Ferrari Concours in May. It was an emotional meet, as event founder Pietro Castiglioni had died suddenly two weeks before the show and the Enzo was the featured model. Grossman’s car garnered a Platinum award in the Supercar class and was honored with the Tazio Nuvolari Award for Best Honored Model trophy.
In August, Grossman had the Enzo shipped west to Carmel, California, home of The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering. There, he and his car were presented on stage while our own Winston Goodfellow and former Pininfarina design director Lorenzo Ramaciotti discussed the Enzo’s design brief. “To have Ramaciotti say that my Enzo was spectacular in every way, and having my family and I there with the car, was the best award I could imagine,” Grossman says.
What’s next for the Enzo? By the time you’re reading this the car will have received its Ferrari Classiche certification, and there’s at least one more show in its future: the 2015 Cavallino Classic. As Grossman likes to say, if you work hard, persevere and keep your dream alive, it really can come true.